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Memphis 10, San Francisco 7, Richmond 3, The Memphis 2, Korea 2, Us 2, Campos 1, Micalali 1, Olague 1, Mikal 1, Oregon 1, Tasers 1, California 1, Florida 1, Northern Ireland 1,
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  SFGTV    [untitled]  

    January 7, 2013
    5:00 - 5:30pm PST  

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opportune moment in moral obligation to bring the request forth that we be allow to arm these singular trained officers, those most trained in dealing with folks in crisis, those most redicent to go to a weapon in the first place, approximately at this point in time, five percent of the department has had this training, and make a less lethal option an electronic conductive device if that is to be the device, put it in the hands of these folks so that they can engage those people in crisis with one more tool in their toolbox, if you will, between being seriously injured or killed themselves or having to use lethal force because there would be something in the middle. so where we are right now we have a draft policy that we have used having it together
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from the presentations made at the present commission, from a doctor, a particular doctor that said if you have these things then at least you have to do x, so his recommendations are in the policy. we took it from the other policies that we believe were the most restrictive on the officers to use. that policy is posted on-line. under the police commission website under documents. available to the public to see whenever they would like and then we have our first, i believe our first meeting of the public will be on january ninth, the details of where are still being worked out. and then there would be two subsequent meetings after those three meetings, we would go back and i would anticipate and have a lengthy debate in front of the police commission at which point in time they would make the decision, the commission that, as to whether or not as proposed these singular crisis trained these five percent of the police
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department would be afforded one more legislate lethal tool in the toolbox to deal with those in crisis. >> thank you, i appreciate you can here. supervisor olague wanted to have remarks in your presence before you had to leave. and i have a few questions. >> and my two commanders, micalali who has done a good job in bringing the program and the policy to this point is going to be handing it off to commander richard korea who will be taking over the crisis intervention training program as in 2013, assignments have changed and commander ali will be focusing on other things but will be available for a historical perspective as to what has gone before. >> thank you. >> supervisor olague. >> i guess that i just think that it is unfortunate conversation to be having. because it seems to me that the focus really should be on... i believe that this is a public
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health issue. and meant to call the public health department, and never got around to it to ask them to be here today because it seems to me that mental health is an issue that there are a lot of people in this city, i believe, especially low income people, not especially, but there are a lot of people who are have those types of issues to deal with. and so, it seems to me that rather than the conversation be about what additional weapon can we use against people who are having a mental health crisis that the conversation should be how do we strengthen our cit program so that officers won't have the knee jerk reaction. to me it is creating the culture where it is okay to use a weapon with someone in a crisis, it is giving that suggestion, that there is all of these steps to take, but it is okay to tase a person who is in a mental health crisis and i don't think that is okay. and i have not had the
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opportunity to speak to mental health professionals but i am wondering what kind of trauma would be imposed on an individual who is suffering from some kind of mental illness, who in their crisis moment is tased. i don't know. i mean, i just don't think that this would have maybe a very positive impact on the recovery. i think that it might create more ptsd, i don't know, i am not a mental health professional. i am just saying, that you know, i just also read very little about the case but i know that the individual, i guess, at the chocolate factory who was killed, was brandishing a box cutter. so i was not there, i am not going to pass judgment. i am just saying, that i am wondering how we get from there to how it escalated to the point where it did. if people had more training around crisis intervention that dealt with compassion as
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opposed to reaching for a weapon. i don't mean to sound naive and in northern ireland they used rubber bullets. and tasers have been known to be lethal and we have incidents like author grant and others where the people accidentally grabbed for the taser and people are killed and there is more than one incident and mostly the people of color that are victims of this. and so, it just seems to me that would be great, i think, if we could spend more time with people having widening the basket of, you know, tools that you all could use that have more to do with different kind of intervention, one that isn't based on a weapon. also, in the south i remember reading during the civil rights period where they were hosing people down with water and the water also had a lethal impact. so i am just saying that these weapons sound, well we are not
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using a gun or actual bullets. but it does not actually necessarily, i am not convinced that it necessarily always takes away the lethal aspect. and i think that we have plenty of examples where people of color and low income working people have particularly been victimized by that and there was even that incident here at the theatre where that young man was brandishing another little, i don't know, he was not brandishing a gun was killed. so, i'm just afraid that if then, the option comes to you as a taser that that is where the people will go automatically. instead of having like you said, the slow down, think more. whatever. i'm not, you know, and since tasers do have a lethal, there is a possibility of that and i'm just not... i just wish that the conversation were really different here. >> i agree, i don't disagree with what you are saying and certainly we have sat through
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more hearings than i can count where many people have expressed your same opinion. and the metrion situation was steli and you spoke of the factory and i think that in those instances the investigations showed that the use of the officer's firearm was justified. i don't want to get into arguments about that but, i would say that in both of those instances, a taser would have been a better might have been a better option. it certainly would have been a less lethal option than the firearm and we might be discussing how that happened or, you know, how someone fell and recovered verses there were the firearm. and again, there is a process, there will be long debates. this is not something that people on both sides of the issue don't feel strongly about. but again, we are going to have
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the conversation and the commission will make a decision. and i think that as prescribed by the resolution it is a way to do it. >> i think that we should create a culture of crisis and not a culture of using a weapon which is a taser, that is all. i think that that once we have these and go down that path and have these types of conversations that that is kind of what is the word? it is kind of an easy way out. you know? sort of like, you know, it is okay to tase. >> i think that it takes more discipline to develop a different kind of culture. >> having been there before, i would not use the word easy as an adjective dealing with a person in crisis, either the person or the officer or someone else. i would suggest that it is just, again for me the impact that the officer having to use deadly force has on an officer,
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it is obvious the injury to the person but impact psychologically to the officer is tremendous. i have heard on my watch, if we never have to shoot anybody, with a firearm that works for me. so, we had to do that, i was there that day, at the chocolate factory. and i know the officer well and it breaks my heart for the family of the man that was in crisis, and for the officer. and so i just felt ta my duty to bring it forward and let the public be heard. and have the commission vote it up or down on behalf of the department. >> thank you. supervisor mar? >> i know that people are passionate about the patient and i want to make sure that we are reframing from clapping and show the support that way, just to make sure that we have.
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>> i will be try to be brief because i know that there are a lot of people from the community who want to speak. >> i see commissioner ali and korea for being back here. i know that the police commission is the ultimate decision maker and there is a number of forums coming up in january and so i will be watching carefully. and i think that i want to be supportive of officers having tools to make sure that they protect the public safety and also that their safety is protected as well. and if tasers, if data can show that it might be a good tool for officers and that data shows that it does not violate civil rights and that it will... and we could fund adequate training for the officers and the department, i can see that it might be a good pilot project and i guess that i do have some concerns as my colleagues have raised of how this is moving forward.
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we have to listen to community input. i definitely want to understand the cost impacts of a fully implemented taser system from a pilot program as opposed to broader level training costs and the effectiveness as well. and i just also wanted to say that i am hoping that we can talk through as thoroughly the civil rights implications and also in the richmond district in inner richmond there was a death and a mental issue. and i am trying to understand how the officers are with the crisis intervention team are as adequately trained as possible to deal with whether it is immigrant and non-english speaking populations or african populations. and very sensitively i share a lot of concerns that have been raised by the aclu and many of the community-based groups that are here and the comments of my colleagues as well. thanks for being here and i will be watching carefully the
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january community meetings that the police commission will be holding as well. >> thank you, very quickly the case that you site in the richmond, that particular person in crisis murdered his mother with knives and then popped out and turned the knives on the officers, they did deploy the less lethal option and it was ineffective and continued the assault and having committed what had been a murder. those are again, tragedies to be sure, i can assure that the crisis intervention training is a priority to me. it is a priority for the department and it is ongoing and it is robust. we have tremendous support from the mental health community in going forward on it. and the discussion is in process about the taser. so that is being discussed. the crisis intervention training has been and will continue and it would be my desire at some point in time to have the entire department have
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that additional level of training. thank you. >> thank you. >> just before you go, real quick. do you have any thoughts about the memphis model of crisis intervention i have heard a lot about it. recently. it has been around for a long time, since 1988. what i read in the statistics it was cited by the university of florida, i believe that there were about two to three shootings by police officers a year and then that was reduced actually between 88 to 2011, to 3 in that whole time because of who were employed in memphis, what are your thoughts about that and how that could be applied? >> first and last two years, we have had one, so, we are doing well in that regard. the officers have the message. i spoke to the chief at the international association with a police meeting and we actually have more we have more trained officers than memphis does by ratio and unfortunately
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they had just had an occasion where they had to use deadly force on a person in crisis. they also don't have tasers. but he said that he would like to entertain something like we are discussing here but for budget constraints, but no the memphis model is a good model. i actually believe that ours is almost a memphis model plus. >> we will be going to that with the commanders, but i appreciate you can here. and talk to you soon. >> well, let's call of our commanders. >> would you like opening comments? >> we are joined by supervisor david compos as well. >> good morning, i am the current coordinator of the police department's crisis intervention team. just kind of want to give you an overview of what has taken place since i have taken charge
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of this effort in september of last year. since that time, we have had three classes where we trained not only san francisco police officers, but officers from other agencies in total we have trained 118 san francisco police officers that would be three lieutenants, and 13 sergeants and 103 patrol officers. and those officers are equally disbursed in the patrol force. both night and day, respectfully, 36 percent or so of that compliment of trained officers are working the evening shifts the remaining during the day. and on average, there is about ten officers per, district station, the directive is clear to the cit officers, their primary responsibility is to respond to incidents where individuals are in crisis.
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and effectively a person in crisis can be any and every one of us, not just someone who has a mental health background. the idea simply put as the chief pointed out, we started this process in terms of giving the clear direction to the department back in may of 2011 when the chief issued a bulletin, basically telling everyone to slow down, there is no need to create an exit dentcy if one does not exist. if they present a threat to themselves we have all of the time in the world and going to utilize that in order to mitigate whatever crisis there might be. with that said as the chief has pointed out. i think that we have had tremendous success in just getting our processes to slow down as we do this level of engagement. and but at the same time, there are instances when words simply do not work.
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when the behavior and i think that it is incredibly important in the spirit of cultural competency and language challenges, that what we are talking about is the behave or that manifests from individuals who are in crisis. our officers are trained that when the behavior is such that they only constitute a threat to themselves take the time and try to do everything that we can to connect with them. i share a story of a young marine who was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. he had been involved in a minor traffic collision. to you and i this is not a major incident. but to this person it triggered something. he rear ended a vehicle and jumped up and ran off into the forest, this did not happen in san francisco, this happened in oregon. the troopers responded and the next day, that day, went for
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searching for this individual, couldn't find him. he was really far off into the woods. some five miles or so. and during the course of that investigation, they determined who the individual was, they contacted the family, and determined that this person had a or was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and as a result of minor conflict would simply run away. the next day the troopers went off on a snowmobile and made contact with the person. and the engagement was simple this, the trooper himself, being a former marine, contacted the personified ... and identified him by his name and said semp er fi soldier. and it immediately made a connection and there were no issues whatsoever. unfortunately that same individual had lengthy issues of conflict with law enforcement.
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but, by slowing down and making this kind of contact, connecting with the person which we are teaching our folks how to do, how to connect. my name is mikal, i am not commander ali when i am having this level of contact with a person in crisis, as a result, right there, this disarms in many instances and allows us to engage. this level of training is taking place and we are doing it in connection with a multitude with different agencies both public and private in san francisco. we are currently going to have four additional trainings this coming year. we are also having discussions with the university of san francisco to model what has taken place in memphis, with the memphis police department and the university of memphis. i will stop right there, because i think that perhaps, probably good time to answer
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questions. >> supervisor compos? >> i want to thank you for hearing this important item and i want to thank the police department for being here and i know that the chief had to leave and we appreciate his comments and we have a number of members of the community who have been tracking these for years. the issues of tasers is something that something that san francisco like many other cities has been graveling with for quite some time. let me begin by saying that i am certainly in support of giving police officers the tools they need to do the job and i think that we have a responsibility to do that. that said, i am still not convinced that tasers are a tool that actually is needed for you to perform the duties in a manner that is conist ant
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with what i think is expected of all officers here. looking at the memphis model, i am still not sure what it is that tasers give you, that you don't presently have. and so i am wondering if you could address that issue. and i address that issue in the context of this. that when you have tasers, a tool that the evidence shows has its own risks and we have heard of officers who have been tased in the course of training and turning around and suing, you know, the company because of the harm of that experience. when you have a tool like tasers, that could actually be a lethal tool, depending on what happens, you want to make sure that you, you know, have a clear necessity for it.
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that you are getting something that you presently don't have. so i am wondering if you could address that commander? >> i think that i can. i think that if we look at the memphis model, they deploy two officer teams in their crisis intervention and each one of those teams, and there is another dynamic in memphis, there is a pay incentive for those officers to be part of the crisis intervention team in memphis, we do not do that. we want a completely volunteer army in this regard. we don't want motivations of financial e gain. and there is a debate on that issue in putting forth crisis intervention teams, do you want to incentivize it monetary. many folks are understanding that that is not something that they want to do. >> and they also deploy with the weapon system a 40 millimeter impact system and it looks like if you will, a huge revolver and this weapon system
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projects a projectile that is about 40 millimeters in size and it gives a tremendous impact upon it. and it creates and there is a significant amount of damage upon impact. and we don't care, we carry that only for our swat officers and so forth. so they do have that and they also are having the discussions about looking at tasers, what we are looking at is if you look at every tool that i have on my gun belt, do you see a very lethal tool in the sense of a firearm. everything else is about paying compliance. you are dealing with a person in crisis, and pain is often times and you compliment that crisis with substance abuse through alcohol or otherwise, and you have diminished pain reception. even dealing with folks who have a history of mental illness, there is a reduced pain perception in many instances. with that being said, do i want
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to use weapons that are only about pain compliance or use a weapon system that is about controlling and stopping that person from doing any further aggressive behavior than what they are doing and our policy is if you look at the policy. it is not about using the policy against someone who is simply non-compliant. that would be a violation of the policy. it is about using potentially that weapon system against someone who is active, state of aggression towards the officers and or the public themselves. so, with that said, it is a weapon system that controls as opposed to uses pain as a means of acquiring compliance. >> i have a couple of follow ups, but i know that the chair has a question. >> actually this probably dove tails with his questions, but for all of us to really understand, could you explain how electronic controlled weapon, a taser works? >> it works by simply, capturing the electrical
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systems within your muscles and basically constricting your muscles. >> but mechanically, you fire something? >> there are two probes that come out of the weapon system itself creating a positive and a negative contact. once those or once that connection is made, then, electricity goes through the person for a cycle of up to 5 seconds. >> how long? >> we are talking about three amps of electricity, i believe, they are at 50,000 volts or so. but it is the amp rage that makes the impact not necessarily the volts itself. but what it does is captures the muscles and keeps the person from doing anything further. >> and have you ever been tased yourself? >> i am schedule to be tased sooner rather than later. the chief has been and i have... based on his experience thus far. >> how do you feel about the posbility of being tase? ? >> i would rather be tased than
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struck with a baton, we teach all as all do if you are going to deploy the baton you use it against the bony areas of a person's body not the meaty areas, so if i strike you in your petella for instance it is possible that you are going to have long term injuries as opposed to the short term pain and control that the electronic control weapon would have. so, personally, i would rather betased than struck with a baton. >> i actually have been pepper sprayed. >> the thought of being tased does that give you any dreptation? >> first of all, i think that from the standpoint, one i am not in the state of crisis and i am not in a state of ago aggrevatio nthe chief has asked me be to the point and the opportunity has not presented. >> someone in the state of crisis, who gets tased does the tase actually have an effect on someone who mental health
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crisis actually reduce the anxiety? or how does it relate to the level of anxiety that a person in crisis might be experiencing? >> i would suspect that it does not diminish the level of anxiety that this person has. but the point of the electronic control weapon at that point, i would suspect would be to control an aggressive, potentially violent person as opposed to controlling someone who is simply in a state of crisis who is not a threat to someone. once again, a policy that we are looking in terms of a draft. it is it has the caviot that it is not about using it for convenience, it is about using the weapon system for a person who is a clear and imminent threat to others and or the officers themselves. >> yeah, and i think and i hear the policy and what i am concerned about is that could be interpreted in a moment by one of our, you know, 1,900 officers plus or minus, and in
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a moment where it gets used in a way that is not according to what our policy says or this discretion involved that leads to and has an impact on the communities. that is where we can put forward all of these case wheres people get killed or people get hurt or in stances where you say that there is ultimate justification for it happening but then we find out the cases where it is not. in fact there are cases where guns are used where there is a real great amount of interpretation and sometimes evidence that the guns were not necessary to be used as well. >> supervisor campos. >> i think that addressing that challenge is why the chief wants to make sure that any deployment is done in a very prudent matter and put into the hands of those who are most apt not to use it and those individuals who have been exposed to all of the various
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components of the crisis intervention training so as it speaks right now, we are looking at 102 members of our department who would in fact be eligible if it was approved. >> thank you, mr. chairman and thank you. we have a quick follow up. in terms of the mechanics of how it would work, am i mistaken in assuming that if you do have this pilot in conjunction with the use of tasers you would also have defibrillators available? >> yes. >> can you explain to me how that works and why there is a need to do that? >> it is one of the recommendations that came out from the physician, the cardologyist with the university of california, san francisco. was that if we are to deploy an electronic control weapon it should be done in conjunction or the availability of a defibrillator should be immediate and with that said, the department is